Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free Bircher Muesli

September 16, 2012

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Bircher muesli was created in the early 1900’s by a Swiss physician named Maximilian Bircher-Benner for his hospital patients. A diet based on fresh fruits and vegetables was considered an important part of recovery  – imagine that! The original Bircher muesli also had dried fruits and was moistened with orange juice.

The first time I tasted Bircher muesli was in Toronto at a Swiss restaurant called Mövenpick. That was over twenty years ago and I still vividly recall my first refreshing, soul-satisfying bite. The perfectly ripe berries, the cold creamy yogurt and the “freshness” of the dish felt like it was awakening every sleepy cell in my body!

A few years later the restaurant closed down and I knew that I would have to recreate that dish at home. Originally I made it with instant rolled oats, milk, Greek yogurt and honey as the sweetener. And you can still do that. However, I truly find this healthier version so much better and I hope you will too.

I recently resurrected this long-forgotten recipe of mine. Berries are at their sweetest now and I’ve been feeling the need to take extra-loving care of my body and soul these days, as I recover from a very stress-filled summer. I really do think Dr. Bircher-Benner was on to something with his dish: every bite feels like a soothing and comforting balm for my emotions. And that has to be a really good start to any kind of recovery.

Gluten-Free/ Dairy-Free Bircher Muesli

I recently discovered almond milk yogurt at a recent trip to Whole Foods. You can get it in a large container (16 oz.) and it tastes great! I really appreciate that we have so many yum dairy-alternatives to choose from these days.

This looks most impressive right when it is made, so you can still see all the different layers of ingredients. After it’s mixed and any leftovers are refrigerated, the berries start to release their juices, turning the entire dish a lovely pink hue, which is just fine by me. This gluten-free Bircher Muesli tastes divine any way you get to eat it!

Because the oats moisten overnight in the fridge, this is a great make-ahead recipe for a brunch. Add some healthy muffins, juice and coffee and your guests will kiss your toes in delight! Or at least “ooh and ahh” gratefully with every bite!

Cool, refreshing, bursting with fruity sweetness, a satisfying chew from the oats, and lightly creamy from the dairy-free almond yogurt. Heavenly!

2 cups Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free rolled oats

1 1/3  cups unsweetened almond milk (you can substitute your favorite dairy-free milk or use water)

1 teaspoon organic vanilla

1 cup organic blueberries

1 cup organic raspberries

1 cup organic blackberries

1 cup sliced organic strawberries

1 organic green apple, shredded with peel

1 ½  – 2 cups almond milk yogurt or coconut milk yogurt

4 – 6 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup, plus additional for serving

¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant

¼ cup shredded coconut, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant

1 teaspoon chia seeds per serving, optional

How to make Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free Bircher Muesli:

Into a medium bowl combine the oats with the milk.

Spread the fruit atop the oat-milk mixture, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, add the shredded green apple and stir in enough yogurt so the mixture is moistened and creamy to your taste.

Gently stir in the agave nectar to taste.

Spoon into individual bowls; sprinkle the toasted almonds, coconut and chia seeds on top of mixture. Serve with additional agave syrup, allowing guests to sweeten their servings to taste.

Makes 4 – 6 servings




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